This study examined the associations between social connections and risk of mortality among older adults aged ≥70 using data (n= 9246) from the United States LSOA II. Social connections were measured at baseline (1994-96), and survival status and cause of mortality were identified in December 2002. A weighted sum score of lack of social connections (LSC) was estimated. Associations between LSC score by quartiles and risk of mortality were examined prospectively using Cox's proportional hazard regression models. The results show that within an eight-year follow-up, African Americans (AA) had the highest age-adjusted all-cause mortality (48.7%), followed by white Americans (WA) (44.7%), and Asian Americans (ASA) (38.4%). Participants within the highest quartile of LSC score had 2 times higher risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all-causes among AA, and 1.40-1.80 times higher among WA than those within the lowest quartile (p< 0.01). No significant association was observed among ASA, which was likely due to the small sample size of the ASA participants. In conclusion, the association between lack of social connections and risk of mortality in older adults raises important clinical and public health concerns, and calls for a reframing of health problems to include social connections.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology